Did Windies Lose 2nd Test Plot?

Cricket lovely Cricket,

At Lord’s where I saw it;

Cricket lovely Cricket,

At Lord’s where I saw it;

Yardley tried his best

But Goddard won the test.

They gave the crowd plenty fun;

Second Test and West Indies won.

Victory Calypso – Egbert Moore (“Lord Beginner”)

It’s cricket, lovely cricket, and oh, what a return it has been thus far as the Windies wrestles with England to keep the Wisden Trophy.

The Windies bowlers had a fantastic run in the first Test, and it was a joy to see the fast bowlers from both teams running up to the crease to bowl – pace like fire! 

With a three-day gap between the first and second Tests, many would argue that the break is too short for players after a 4-month layoff.

Jason Holder took a big gamble by electing to field. The teams usually choose to field when there are cloudy conditions, but in hindsight, you’d think batting second means chasing a target, which is quite a difficult job in a Test match.

Windies went with an unchanged lineup as they didn’t want to disturb the winning 11. However, England made four changes, which included 3 of their quickies. More importantly, it’s thinking outside the box by England.

The England team had adopted a rotation policy mostly with bowlers. After all, they have a very hectic schedule of Ireland and Pakistan coming up, and that’s the only reason for the non-selection of the 37-year-old James Anderson in the 2nd Test. 

They haven’t gone with their full-strength bowling lineup of Anderson, Broad, Archer in either of the two Tests thus far. Archer was expected to play the 2nd Test but didn’t due to violation of bio-secure protocol.

Archer’s missing the 2nd Test could be a blessing in disguise as it may give him some recovery time to get ready for the 3rd Test.

Bringing in fresh legs after losing the first Test was a bold move by skipper Root, but it could also backfire. The new bowlers could be rusty and rhythmless, especially after coming from a long gap of competitive cricket.

  The Windies bowlers failed to capitalize on the advantage of winning the toss. The English batsmen came out with a strategy to grind out the bowlers and later target the tired bowlers.

Gabriel looked beside himself with the new ball and so too Roach. Gabriel, Joseph, and Holder all walked off the field at one point or another to prove how exhaustive Test cricket can be, especially when batters are on top of the bowling.  

At the start of day 1, Jason Holder and his men had expected wickets from the seamers, but ’twas the part-time off-spinner Roston Chase who was the pick of the bowlers. 

Chase got a fifer after bowling 44 overs. Roach looked very listless as he took nearly 11 months and 77.2 overs to take another wicket in Test cricket.

The Windies bowlers on day 2 went into an entirely defensive mindset. There were few chances created by bowlers in the 1st hour, but it didn’t go their way. 

“West Indies made us work really hard for the runs,” Stokes told reporters. “It swung and nipped throughout.

“If you get in, you have to make it count. We keep saying we base our Tests on big first-innings runs, and we’ve done that this week” Stokes added.

Sibley and Stokes had tested the patience of Windies bowlers and later compensated for a slow start by acceleration and scoring 100+ runs in the 2nd session of day 2. Eventually, Stokes went on to score an impactful 176, and Sibley ended up scoring a patient knock of 120 runs. 

Sibley’s batting was old fashioned style. He just went into a shell and ignored all the deliveries outside off-stump. “You don’t need to play every ball, but every ball needs your judgment,” according to Amit Ray and that’s an apt description of England’s opening batter, Dominic Peter Sibley’s inning.

After draining the bowlers and fielders for almost two days (5½ sessions to be precise), England declared on 469 when the exhausted Windies opening batters had to face the new ball with the sun almost about to set.

They somehow managed to escape the initial threat of Broad, Woakes, and Curran and crawled to a score of 32 and lost one wicket at stumps of day 2.

Windies better option

  • They could have brought in young Chemar Holder in place of Shanon Gabriel to test their bench strength, simultaneously resting Gabriel.
  • They could have chosen to bat first to allow the bowlers to take an extra day off from bowling.
  • They could have added Rahkeem Cornwall in place of an extra batsman as spinners on both ends could drain off the runs and frustrate the batsmen.
  • The bowlers could have bowled more deliveries in the line of the stump to make the batsmen play the delivery rather than swing away to the wicketkeeper and the slip fielders.
  • Think outside the box

The Windies bowlers had two ordinary days in this test match. “Don’t confuse the bad days as a sign of weakness. Those are actually the days where the team is fighting hard”.

Sports Post Covid-19 will bring injuries due to the lack of training and match practice. The fact is that we could see injuries even in cricket, especially with bowlers. Hence the players need enough recovery time to remain fit. 

Age also plays a major role in fitness. In this modern era, where there is immense competition, it becomes difficult for 36+ aged bowlers to play a full-fledged 5-match test series or even a jam-packed 3 match series.

England is in a commanding position right now. Could the Windies batters manage to replicate England’s batting and save the Test or even win it?

Let’s find out in the coming days.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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